Project Case study
Promoting a better environment for workers in Bangladesh
Promoting better working conditions for garment and factory workers in Bangladesh
The Better Work Program, launched in February 2007, is a partnership between the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation that aims to improve compliance with labour standards and promote competitiveness in global supply chains.
The programme facilitates collaboration between governments, trade unions and employer organisations, as well as international buyers at global, national, and workplace levels.
As of 2011, it was active in Cambodia, Jordan, Haiti, Indonesia, Lesotho, Nicaragua and Vietnam.
We were commissioned by the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation to conduct a feasibility study investigating the potential for implementing the Better Work Program in Bangladesh.
The feasibility of implementing the scheme in a country such as Bangladesh rests upon a number of related factors. These include access to factories and participation of local suppliers and commitment from tripartite constituents, notably the Ministry of Labour and Employment and Ministry of Commerce, sectoral workers and employers associations. Commitment and interest from international buyers and global economic market dynamics are also important. To fully explore these factors, and understand how they may influence the potential design and implementation of the programme in Bangladesh, we consulted extensively with local and international stakeholders, as well as conducting desk-based research.
Following a positive reception of the recommendations of the study, the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation announced in 2013 that the Better Work Program would be launched in Bangladesh.
Following the recommendations of our report, the programme will provide assessments of factory compliance with national law and core international labour standards, and transparent public reporting on findings. The programme will also provide advisory services to factories, concentrating on building worker and management dialogue to improve working conditions and competitiveness, and engage with national partners to promote sectoral changes, including effective industrial relations.
The hope is that the project will go some way to improving working conditions for the many millions of people, mostly women, who work in the garment industry in Bangladesh.
“The government and industry stakeholders in Bangladesh have signalled their commitment to make decent work opportunities a reality.”
Dans Rees, Better Work Programme Director